How much exercise should you do to feel better?

We all know doing exercise is beneficial for a host of problems:

  • It will give us energy and help our breathing and circulation
  • It protects us from dementias
  • It will help decrease symptoms of arthritis
  • It can help decrease the incidence of mental illness
  • It will reduce the risk of colon cancer

If there was a pill that did what exercise does we would all be taking it! The real question is, what do we do and how often?

The World Health Ogranisation Guideliness suggest that we should be exercising for at least 20 minutes a day (non-stop) at a rate that makes us feel a bit breathless, and certainly that is an optimal amount. However, many readers may think “come on as if i could do that and not fall apart!” Others will go to a gym, work out for 30 minutes, and then be so sore that they abandon the idea of exercise altogether.

The Good News:

Any amount of regular (daily) exercise has a benefit- the important thing is to find something you enjoy doing. Exercise fails when we have the boom or bust approach. The important thing is to build a daily practise slowly, for example we have seen massive improvements in people with just a 5 minute daily walk.

Our suggestion is to choose an activity or exercise you enjoy and try it non-stop at a medium effort/ pace. If you fatigue after 10 minutes then do 7 minutes for your daily practise the first week. If you get tired after 15 minutes do 10.The important thing is to feel you could continue if you wanted at the end and that you feel better after your exercise than you did before it.

Try to avoid the common mistake of thinking “oh that feels ok I will keep going until i’m tired” and then regretting it. Pick your distance/time before you start then stick to that!

It doesn’t matter if you pick walking, swimming, dancing, rowing or kicking a ball against a wall- what matters is building a daily exercise habit.

Of course if you would like some help picking a suitable exercise or designing a program that suits come and see us at Back To Health Physiotherapy in Newport and we would be delighted to assist with guiding you to your optimal health and fitness level.